Fugazi emerged from the Washington D.C. hardcore scene in the late 1980s. They had a profound impact on the music industry without ever joining a major label or breaking into Billboard’s Hot 100.
Musically, Fugazi produced what would come to be known as a seminal post-hardcore sound.
Dissonant guitars, complex rhythms, and dueling vocals combine in unorthodox song structures. Harsh tension breaks into blissful, melodic resolution.
Some listeners find the results off-putting, but Fugazi garnered a loyal following. They’re respected by critics and report millions of records sold.
Despite establishing the foundations of a new subgenre of punk music, Fugazi may be better known for their Do It Yourself mentality and adherence to ethical business practice while navigating the music industry.
The Washington Post wrote of the band in 1993, “There are three facts about Fugazi you must know: It only plays shows where age IDs are not required. It charges $5 admission to its shows, always. It will never, ever sign with a major record label.”
Even after ticket prices crept up to a reported $10, Fugazi remained committed to creative independence.
For the duration of their career they stayed on Dischord Records, the label that Fugazi’s Ian MacKaye had co-founded in 1980 with Jeff Nelson, his bandmate in Minor Threat.
In 2003 the Los Angeles Times wrote, “Ian MacKaye did not invent punk rock. But it’s quite possible that he has done more than any other artist in America to advance its cause, shape its ethics and define its aesthetic over the last 23 years.”
Fugazi’s lyrics preach messages of anti-consumerism, feminism, and social justice, and the band lived accordingly. During a 1988 performance of the song “Suggestion,” MacKaye can be heard saying:
I read in the paper the other day about some young men, some ‘boys’ who were beating up gay men in a park.
Let me tell you now, I don’t give a fuck what you are, but you do not beat up people for being gay; you do not beat up people for being black; you do not beat up people for being women; you do not beat up people period.
From 1987 to 2002 Fugazi played 1045 shows, visiting every state in the U.S., in addition to touring in South America, Europe, Australia, and Asia.
That’s an average of 65 shows a year over the 15 year period, and nearly every single one was documented. The map shows all of Fugazi’s known shows, colored by the decade in which they occurred (80s, 90s, 00s).
Fugazi’s first tour was in the fall of 1987, up and down the east coast, from Connecticut to North Carolina.
Show #2, St. Stephen’s Church Cafeteria in Washington D.C.. Cost: $5, Attendance: 200.
Show #10, Anthrax in Norwalk, Connecticut. Cost: $5, Attendance: 100.
Show #12, Matt Kelly’s Basement in East Lansing, Michigan. Cost: $3, Attendance: Unknown.
The first international tour was in the fall of 1988, when the band embarked on a 39 show tour spanning 13 countries.
During 15 years of touring Fugazi brought their unique brand of DIY punk to 33 countries across five continents.
Use the controls to explore specific tours and regions. Scroll on when you are ready to continue.
The Fugazi Live Series provides information about — as far as I can tell — every single show that Fugazi ever played.
The band offers an audio download for those shows that have a quality audio recording. There are over 700 of these recordings, each available for a $5 suggested donation.
videos by raoulduke881 and mirhaba. source
photograph by Ted Drake. source
webpage created using Idyll. source
thanks to David Hill for providing the dataset. this work is not affiliated with Fugazi or Dischord Records in any way. to learn more check out the documentary Instrument
updated August 18, 2018